Other Stuff Exists

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The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food – Kindle Comparison

Posted by Tracy Poff on October 8, 2011

When I reviewed the first two Berenstain Bears books, The Big Honey Hunt and The Bike Lesson, I mentioned that although they were available for the Kindle, I wasn’t sure how good a colorful children’s picture book would look on the grayscale e-ink screen of the Kindle.

On account of the recently reduced prices for Kindles, I have just purchased a Kindle Keyboard, which I’m enjoying, so far. After I’d played around with it a bit, I remembered my previous concern for how picture books would look, and decided I’d find out. I looked around a little, and ultimately got a sample of The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food.

To begin the comparison, let’s first look at the beginning of the print version.

I’ve not bothered to scan the whole right page, but you can see enough for our purposes. Next, let’s look at the sample on Kindle for PC.

You can see (if you click the image to view it full-sized) that the illustration is quite small. However, it has had the top of the tree drawn in, which I suppose is nice. The next paragraph, which, in the print version, is on the same page, has been moved to a new page in the Kindle version.

What exactly has happened, here? These two pages are both showing parts of the original illustration, but in the second, the tree house has been removed, and the illustration from the right page has been joined up with the remaining illustration from the left page. The illustration is, again, quite small.

I suppose that the book looks okay on Kindle for PC, but it’s not the same as the print version. The illustrations are difficult to see and have been redrawn a bit, but not (as far as I can see from the sample) with much creativity–no fun revelations here.

How about on the actual Kindle, then?

I should note that on the actual Kindle, the contrast is much better–the background is significantly lighter than it appears in this picture.

Of course, it looks substantially similar to the pictures of Kindle for PC, which is natural since it’s the same book sample. However, two things are immediately apparent: first, the tiny, grainy images on the Kindle screen remind me of the web circa 1996; second, without the color, these images just aren’t that nice.

In my opinion, these books aren’t really worth purchasing for the Kindle. The artwork is really what carries these books, and it’s simply not reproduced well on the Kindle–neither the actual Kindle nor the Kindle for PC software. This isn’t entirely the fault of the Kindle itself–the artwork looks bad in the file the Kindle is displaying, so of course it can’t make it look any better. Still, if this book is representative of the quality of the Berenstain Bears books on the Kindle, I’d strongly recommend buying paper versions, instead.


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